State AG joins effort against federal increases to immigration fees

State Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined 18 other attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of a legal effort to immediately block the Trump Administration’s new regulation increasing fees for immigration-related applications.

As part of the rule, the federal government — for the first time in U.S. history — will impose fees on asylum applications for those fleeing violence and persecution.

In the friend-of-the-court brief, the coalition highlights the chilling and potentially dangerous effects the arbitrary fee increases will have on immigrant families and the states, and urges the court to grant a preliminary injunction.

“Unfortunately, the current administration continues to attempt to implement rules that create unwarranted and improper impediments for individuals seeking to immigrate or obtain asylum in this country,” said Nessel. “Immigrants who call Michigan home play a vital role in our economy and are crucial to the strength of our state’s diversity. To implement more barriers for those hoping to live here legally is unnecessary and unacceptable.”

Michigan is sixth among all states with asylum seeker and refugee arrivals between 2015-2017— which equates to about 2,500 people per year.

In addition, immigrants make up nearly 10 percent of the state’s workforce and comprise close to 34,000 of the state’s entrepreneurs. Immigrants pay about $6.7 billion in state and local taxes and have a spending power of $18.2 billion.

On Aug. 3, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published a final rule dramatically increasing its fee schedule for a wide range of immigration-related applications, including citizenship and asylum.

The rule raises fees for many crucial applications by as much as 30 to 546 percent.

It imposes these new costs while also eliminating fee waivers that have traditionally allowed lower-income immigrants to become fully integrated U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

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